‘Sometimes tell no to Russians’
16 December, 2010
‘Sometimes tell no to Russians’

Kremlin set to trample down Abkhazians and Abkhazian laws

The Kremlin decided to grab the best resort area of Abkhazia (de jure part of Georgia, de facto independent but occupied by Russia) in exchange of its recognition. Abkhazian people is in great predicament, i.e. in great debt to Russian people.

Or call it a heavy commitment on their shoulders. The Kremlin and its current chiefs try everything to get a grip on lucrative resort areas of Abkhazia. They are applying a

heavy pressure on President Bagapsh to adopt a law and open the doors to Russian ownership of Georgian land.
Everything started from the new appetite of the Kremlin officials for the seaside, the phenomenon reminiscent the dacha bonanza for Communist apparatchiks of Soviet times. No wonder, Kremlin eyes the dachas of Stalin, Khrushchev, Beria, Gorbachev, etc. Apparently, Russian bureaucrats think they are entitled to inherit blue-sky comfort and holidays. That is why they are in serious talks with Bagapsh – the man of their own political making – for delicious pies.
Bagapsh was certainly taken aback when he met a sudden local resistance to the whims of Kremlin bosses. Consequently, the Russian-Abkhazian property confrontation has been on the steady rise. Emotions are boiling over. Abkhazians openly resent dacha handovers and dacha-associated diplomatic immunity zones. On the other hand, Russian citizens are airing their grievances too. They complain that Abkhazians are ousting locals of Russian origin from their own houses. Last week a number of Russian citizens staged a protest rally in front of so called Abkhazian Embassy in Moscow, demanding that the violation of rights of Russian citizens be stopped. The rally activists handed a statement to the Abkhazian Ambassador, which lists many facts of such violations.
“WWII capitulation conditions were much more bearable and decent for the defeated Germany and Japan than the documents signed by Abkhazian leaders allowing Russians to have Abkhazians bow down their heads in obedience,” say frustrated Abkhazians in Sokhumi.
Despite the local resentment, Russia stubbornly continues forcing the Bagapsh Authorities to adopt a new law on private property, which would permit Russian citizens the purchase of Abkhazian lands. Current Abkhazian legislation prohibits real estate purchases by foreign citizens. As recently as two months ago, Russian PM Vladimir Putin ordered Russian Security Service and Foreign Affairs Ministry to sign a document on the handover of certain resort buildings in Abkhazia to Russia. As for the land areas underneath these buildings, they would be given to Russians for a 49-year long renting period with automatic extension rights. The yearly rent fee would be symbolic, constituting only one Ruble.
According to such Agreement, Russia would request from Sokhumi the granting of the right of large-scale constructions. Moreover, one of the contractual articles defines that Russian citizens serving at these Russian sites would be subject to Abkhazian law.
Meanwhile, Bagapsh is getting anxious. Probably he cannot withstand weight of Russian boots and tries to drive home the message to Abkhazians that they are owing to Russians immensely, so that they are obliged to hand these sites over to Russians. He explains that these sites used to belong to the Soviet Union, the country who was the first in history to recognize their independence and which has been their friend and strategic partner first as the Soviet Union and then as Russia.
Baghapsh reminds to his people that Beria’s ‘Dacha’ in Gagra was actually sold to Krasnodar Krai’s (region) Administration 7-8 years ago for several Rubles by Vladislav Ardzinba. While Bichvinta State Dacha has been under Russian use since even earlier period.
It is noteworthy that local public and political parties have already formed a special group which would research the validity of this document under the Abkhazian legislation. The opposition leader Raul Khajimba calls for help from authoritative persons. History experts and media representatives meanwhile held a conference with a motto “Sometimes tell no to Russia”. The gathering proved to be noisy. Its participants were unanimous in their critical attitudes to both official Moscow and Sokhumi Authorities.
Anatoli Otirba, Abkhazian businessman operating in Russia, who was even a presidential candidate in the 2004 elections, states that what unnerves him is not the dacha handovers or the size of the renting fee but the permission to violate Abkhazian law.
It seems Abkhazians cannot put up with the main thing, i.e. the demand of diplomatic immunity by Russia because it would mean these sites would not fall under the Abkhazian legislation.
Experts suppose that the extent of such diplomatic immunity would be increased by Russians, which would fuel more and more Abkhazian frustrations. If Abkhazia adopts the Kremlin-initiated law, in several years Abkhazians would be standing at the edge of the abyss called demographic catastrophe. Eventually Russians would become owners of entire Abkhazian land, or at least the entire coastline, which is a strategic wealth of Abkhazia. Some experts do not rule out that such a grave prospect may provoke an open clash of Abkhazians with Russians.


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